29th of October 2013
VICTIMS AND LAND RESTITUTION LAW FAILS TO PROTECT VULNERABLE COMMUNITIES FROM FORCED DISPLACEMENT AND ARBITRARY EVICTION – Pitalito, Colombia.
The Latin American Solidarity Centre in Dublin has been closely following the case of the Pitalito community in the department of Cesar, Colombia since early 2013. Pitalito is a community comprised of small scale farmers that returned to their land on the 21st of May 2013, having been forcibly displaced from their land by government officials in 2010. We have previously expressed concern for the safety of community members, and the lawyers that accompany them, in the land restitution case that they have brought before Colombian authorities. Members of the community in question were registered under said Law in April 2013, in the presence of a LASC volunteer, and have been actively engaged in the required legal process to have their land rights recognized under Colombian law.
On the 25th of October, the 21 returned families of Pitalito were forcibly displaced from their land for a second time in just three years, in a manner that has been described as arbitrary and illegal by the lawyers accompanying the case. The eviction came after a series of failed attempts by local authorities to emit and carry out an eviction order, and was enacted by members of the national police in the presence of the Colombian army. LASC are deeply concerned for the 21 families of Pitalito who have been re-victimized and forcibly displaced despite supposedly being protected by the Land Restitution Law from such an occurrence.
We remind both the international community and the Colombian government of international obligations to protect victims of forced displacement from further victimization, and the vulnerability of internally displaced communities.
We call on the Colombian State:
▪ · To investigate the actions of local authorities in Chimichagua who have acted in a manner that is contrary to protections inherent in the Victims and Land Restitution Law.
▪ · To continue with the analysis and application by the families of Pitalito under said Law to have their land rights recognized and their land returned to them.
▪ · To guarantee adequate housing and services for the 21 families recently deprived of their dwellings and evicted from their lands.
We ask the International Community to urge the Colombian state to take the actions mentioned above and to remind them of their responsibility towards internally displaced populations at risk.
Latin American Solidarity Centre
Please contact the following to demand justice for the displaced community of Pitalito:
Javier Martínez Martínez
Fax (+057 5) 5751255
Carlos Alberto Serrano Caballero
Tl: 3116643414 – 315 2436821
Director of the Land Unit in Valledupar (capital of the department)
Tl: 320 5689030e-mail. firstname.lastname@example.org
Tl: 321 394 4044
Lieutenant Colonel Rómulo Fonseca Salcedo
Major Leonidas Lazala
Tl: 3182704470, 3015100295, 3183729439
Director, National Protection Unit
Avenida Calle 26 No. 59-41/65 Bogotá D.C. Colombia
PBX: (571) 4269800
Juan Carlos Pinzón Bueno
Minister of Defence
Avenida El Dorado con Carrera 52, CAN, Bogotá D.C.
Tl: (+ 57 1) 222 1874, +571 315 0111 Ext 3301, (+57 1) 266 1003
Email: email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com;firstname.lastname@example.org .email@example.com
Carrera 8 No.7-57 Bogotá D.C.
Fax: (+57 1) 596 0651
Tl: (+57 1) 334 4507
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com@presidencia.gov.co
Land Restitution Unit
Carrera 19 No. 27-27 Edificio Bachué Oficina 702, Bogotá D.C.
Tl: (+57 1) 5998227, 5661164, 5661596
 The Victims and Land Restitution Law (Law 1448) came into effect in June 2011. It is intended to give reparations to victims of forced displacement. Unfortunately, it has been criticized as for the lack of security it provides to claimants – to date over 40 local leaders involved in land restitution claims have been assasinated.
 Legal Team of the People Press Release, 27 October Ilegal and arbitrary eviction of the Pitalito Community; http://derechodelpueblo.blogspot.com/2013/10/desalojo-arbitrario-e-ilegal-contra.html